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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

two make-up gems

I remember wearing Clinique’s Black Honey lip gloss when I was a teenager, and very sophisticated I thought I was too! So, I’m delighted that Clinique have been inspired by a lip colour (first launched in 1971) and based an entire collection around it called The New Black, which introduces violet and berry shades for the eyes and cheeks.

But back to the lip gloss, which to me, is the star of the palette. At first glance it looks incredibly difficult to wear as it’s so dark and vampy looking. But the opposite is actually true.  The clue is in the name: Almost Lipstick. It’s not quite a lipstick, and not quite a gloss, but a high-powered glaze. Therefore, when it’s slicked on, the colour is sheer, not dense and I don’t know how, but seems to suit everybody regardless of skin tone. Go buy!

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, £15

As I’ve written before in this blog, I’m always searching for the perfect mascara. And this one has zoomed to the top of my list – well, for this week anyway! DHC, a Japanese brand has used modern wizardry to create a water-resistant mascara without the need for a make-up remover.

Firstly, let me just say I love the brush. It’s dinky enough but capable enough to coat each individual lash without clumping and leaves every lash amply coated and lengthened without looking spidery. A drum roll please for the best bit. Utilising tubing technology, a single application wraps each lash in tiny water-resistant polymer tubes which ensures mascara will not budge or run – handy for any blubfests. The tubing technology means there’s no need to use eye make-up remover. Just splash with warm water when cleansing and mascara literally comes off in a blink of an eye. Genius.

DHC Perfect Pro Double Protection Mascara in black, £13.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

skin strikes gold

“What women want today from skincare are results, affordability and honesty,” says Michelle Doherty, founder of the cosmeceutical brand Alpha-H. In her late 40’s, Michelle’s skin looks good. Very good. Considering she suffered terribly with acne from the ages of 14 to 28, she’s the best face for her brand. Who needs an airbrushed actress when you can look and be inspired by somebody that’s had troublesome skin in their formative years, and come through the other side?

Michelle hails glycolic acid as reinventing and saving her skin, and she believes it will do wonders for yours too. “When I was first introduced to this ingredient over 20 years ago – I had tried everything on the market to improve my skin, I thought, ‘am I ballsy enough to put acid on my skin?’ says Michelle. The answer was yes, and she saw a noticeable difference within four days. So impressed was she with the results, she built her business on it.

“For a visible difference, skin needs to be taken out of its comfort zone,” says Michelle, and her products make no excuses for doing that. Indeed, Michelle feels it's beauty twaddle that your skin needs to keep a consistent pH balance of 5.5 to keep it glowing and happy. “For skin to start producing its own collagen, it needs to drop down to a warm and tingling level,” explains Michelle. “If your skin just ticks along at 5.5 it will age today, tomorrow and in the future.” That’s what Michelle means by honestly. The active delivery vehicle that is glycolic acid is like taking your skin to bootcamp,” says Michelle. Yes, the skin may feel a little ‘fizzy’ when applied, but surprisingly even sensitive skins will tolerate it with no downtime.

Here’s the fast tracked science bit: glycolic acid is a water based fruit acid with a tiny molecular size. This allows for quick and superior absorption through the skin’s layers. Glycolic draws moisture to the surface to plump and hydrate the skin. Crucially, it has a get-go effect on cell activity which ultimately helps build new collagen for a high performing skin.

Like anyone I like my skincare to be fuss free but feisty. The new Alpha-H Liquid Gold Skin Perfecting System offers just that. There are three formulations: Prep & Prime, Liquid Gold Original and Liquid Gold Radiance. All are night time treatments and instructions are to be followed – don’t worry it’s nothing too complicated! The deal goes: you sleep, whilst your skin heads to the gym. Sounds like a painless workout to me. Sign me up!

Liquid Gold Skin Perfecting System costs £53 and is available at,, and QVC.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

covering all bases

Leaves are falling, opaques are being worn and Strictly has started. This can only mean one thing: autumn has landed. For months skin has had a happy-go-lucky attitude in terms of coverage. A splash of sun smattered onto the complexion has the habit of sprinkling cute freckles, along with a skin tone that looks healthy and radiant. Come the switching of the seasons and a little more is need. But as a tan fades and blemishes and patchy skin tone begin to surface, it’s a no-no to consider foundation as a fake tan. A shade that’s significantly darker than your skin tone won’t make you look sun-kissed, just grubby!

Instead look for smart new cover ups that appear invisible, feel weightless and do amazing things for your complexion. With choices expanding, making a perfect pick isn't always easy, so here are currently three of my best finds:

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Mineral Makeup SPF15, £26
I love Bobbi Brown’s philosophy that skin should look like skin. Her make-up is super effortless whilst bringing out the best in covetable beauty – no mean feat. I was sent a little tester pot and it was perfect to use on a recent trip. And that’s what swung my beauty favour. Even though I had a light tan, the powder didn’t dampen it at all, giving me just a super fine dusting of shine free coverage. Simply buff and swirl on with a soft face brush. For a heavier coverage upgrade to a powder puff and press into the skin, then blend with a face brush. Honestly, if the powder was anymore weightless, it would float! Furthermore with an inclusion of sodium hyaluronate, it doubles up as a moisture magnet so skin doesn’t feel and look dry. Disaster for exaggerating any fine lines.
Available in eight skin tone correct shade.

Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint, £21 (out September 15th)
Known for her high performing Naturally Active Skincare, it was only a matter of time – with much loyal based consumer nagging, that make-up would be introduced. And according to the brand, now partnered with Avon this is the natural bridge from skincare through to colour. The texture is dreamy and incredibly blendable. It literally does glide over the skin without pulling and squeaking (you know what I mean), giving a dewy coverage that enhances, not hides natural skin tone. With a mineral UV protection of SPF15 it really does cover all modern pressing skin concerns.

UNE Intuitive Touch BB-Cream Foundation, £14.99 (out October)
There’s been much fanfare about BB creams lately (standing for Blemish Balm) whose origins lie in Korea. They’re used as a post-laser treatment designed to allow an immediate return to work after a laser session. Taking multi-tasking to the max, they profess to camouflage small skin blemishes, unify, soothe and protect all in one single swoop. I have to confess that I tried Garnier’s BB Miracle Skin Perfector and wasn’t too keen. It was overly perfumed and the coverage wasn’t natural enough for me, leaving a non glow effect. But with UNE’s offering it only matifies where needed, thanks to fine spherical particles of rice powder. You can apply as a foundation, but I prefer to use it as a concealer using the little brush to cover up dark patches, redness and blemishes. I would comment the brush isn’t of superior quality, so would recommend the use of a  professional brush for better application. However, saying this I think BB for this skin creation could stand for Beauty Bonus.

Monday, 5 September 2011

psychic chic

Cocktails. Canapes. Celebrities. If there’s one thing that guarantees to get the beauty press to a launch (apart from the product of course) it’s not the former, but a reading. And not necessarily the low-down of their latest scientific study on banishing wrinkles. More likely a reading from a psychic promised on the embossed invite.

Katie Lancashire
Once psychics used to be associated with women that wore questionable sandals, now they’re more likely to be wearing Christian Louboutin. I’ve met Katie Lancashire, a Cambridgeshire based psychic a few times at swish beauty dos alongside interviewing her for magazines, which just goes to show how on-trend psychics have become. As far removed from the shawl draped, gypsy earring wearing crystal ball gazer as you can imagine, Katie is young, modern and gorgeous, representing the changing face (or should that be fate?) of psychics.

It could be said that psychics have become another luxury shopping experience –  appointments for them are now available in high end department stores, but although it may be classed as a bit of girlie fun, there’s a definite sense they have a mindful role to play in many lives. When your own world can sometimes seem off message, good psychics have the skills to help put a disrailed mind on the right track. And for the sceptics amongst you, psychologists have said there are huge parallels between a developed sense of wellbeing and having a good relationship whether it is with a therapist or a psychic.

“Personally, the demands for my insights have never been more sought after – I have a waiting list and my party bookings have gone through the roof,” says Katie. After all, we all want to know what the next big thing is, whether it's the newest lipstick shade or what’s in the future for ourselves.

Here I have a quick cosmic chat with Katie.

Dolly Mixture: When were you aware you had psychic powers?
Katie Lancashire: I realised I knew things when I was about 5 years old. I knew things about people and also saw spirits many times. I inherited my powers from my mother, but at school I used to get bullied for it. Kids’ used to taunt me that my mum was a witch. It’s funny how it’s now become cool to have these powers.

DM: I know many women who see psychics for emotional direction. Do you think this is healthy?
If we are ill we go to the doctor, if we have toothache, we go to the dentist, if we have emotional problems, lots of people turn to psychics by way of guidance and to understand what is happening to them at that current time. I’m often sought out by those who have lost direction in life and need answers along with restored confidence. They like to re-affirm their own feeling and thoughts. Essentially to get hope.

DM: What’s the most common question people ask you?
KL: You won’t tell me I’m going to die will you? Followed by, will I win the lottery? And I do get asked lots if their partners are faithful or not!

DM: Do you find it hard not to tell friends or family what their future is?
KL: It can be hard, and I will only tell them if they ask and want to know. Like with any reading, you have to want to know. If they ask, I will tell them.

DM: What are your ethics as a psychic? For instance, if someone wanted to book you every month would you say no?
KL: Absolutely! I only allow my customers to return every 4-6 months, any sooner and they won’t get enough out of their reading, and it’s a waste of money for them and a waste of time for me. Any psychic that allows someone to return month in, month out is exploiting that individuals weakness and vulnerability.

DM: What would be your own personal guidelines for finding a genuine psychic? How can you tell they’re the real deal?
KL: Of course, there will be some dishonourable ones in the mix, so just be wary of the ones that reveal you will have money problems in January and holidaying in August! But I would say go on word of mouth and recommendation, or else from good reviews in publications.  You can tell if they are real, as you will not have to say anything about yourself, whereby you can sit back and be told what is going on in your life. However, it is essential that you are open and receptive to the reader and prepared to hear what they say. Don’t go with a mission to test them.

DM: What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?
KL: Helping people realise that their life is not a waste of time and helping people when they are genuinely ‘lost’ in life. But I don’t have a magic wand. Some individuals think it is a great party piece, but I never let my talent be exploited for fun. People do benefit from readings and I receive many cards of thanks from people I have helped.